Are people from dotcomscoop.com spamming mefi? October 1, 2001 12:16 AM   Subscribe

I noticed an odd trend recently in the way a couple new people were posting and I think I've uncovered a problem. (more)
posted by mathowie to Etiquette/Policy at 12:16 AM (100 comments total)

There have been an unusual number of links pointing to dotcomscoop.com, so I started checking into the archives.

Wet Wednesday has posted one link to the site and a few comments linking to the site, and has no contact details listed.

I noticed one other person also pointing to dotcomscoop a lot is Atom Heart Mother. Looking through their posts, there are also no details, 3 links to dotcomscoop and a comment or two linking to the site.

Looking at the threads they both commented in, they happened to come from the same IP, and would post within minutes of each other. The user details on both accounts that you can't see are also nearly identical.

So the question is, is this the same person? Are they connected with the sites they are linking to? Is there any rational explanation for this?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:30 AM on October 1, 2001


Seems to me like you've hit upon the most rational explanation yourself, Matt.
posted by toddshot at 12:47 AM on October 1, 2001


I sense some smoting on the horizon....
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:16 AM on October 1, 2001


If they have no contact details, wouldn't it be worth putting a note on the last Wet Wednesday topic (most recent topic as I wrote this) to catch their attention and direct them here so they can defend themselves?

posted by andrew cooke at 1:37 AM on October 1, 2001


Looks like dotcomscoop.com is a one man operation by Ben Silverman from Brooklyn, NY (dotcomscoop.com itself is hosted out of Bellevue, WA). The big question might be whether the IP where this/these posters are coming from is located in Brooklyn as well or elsewhere- in otherwords, is this just Ben being two people at once trying to get some free publicity (VisualRoute trace). However, something like this, this, and this suggest AHM at least is likely in/from England...

Giving the poster(s) the benefit of the doubt, they could be two different people who work at the same place (hence the same IP, a la a shared NAT) who both post to MeFi. And maybe they just really like dotcomscoop as a key source for their news (maybe they even know Ben, or maybe not) which is why it's linked a few times by them, like the Drudge Report or Salon is for other people. Heck, people still link the Onion, even though probably every MeFite reads the damn thing regularly. As for the similarity of details- I'm not sure how much detail there is for anyone since not much is required to sign up besides an email, but if we were again looking at two co-worker friends, they'd probably have the same location, and the same domain, and the 1-week difference between account creations could be one buddy telling the other one, "Hey, I just found this cool site, you should go there too". And if one of them comments on a thread, he might give his buddy a heads up to say, "Check out what I wrote here".

So yeah, it's very possible to rationally explain how it could be all innocent. Indeed, I recall in the pre- and post- election period last fall, my sysadmin friend and I at the company I worked for would check out a lot of the same sites (we have similar political leanings, similar tastes, similar favorites folders), and tell each other immediately about stories we'd seen; had Salon or Slate been a weblog last November, I suspect my friend and I would have had their weblog analyzers asking the very same question you're asking right now. But it still sounds unusual... AC's idea for putting an entry on the last topic they posted in (naturally enough, a dotcomscoop link by AHM on the front page today) to contact them is a clever one, and probably the only way to contact them and ask point blank to clear it up, short of an expert analysis of their writing styles.

Damn. I need to a) get to bed, and b) learn about this thing you Earthlings call "brevity".
posted by hincandenza at 2:12 AM on October 1, 2001



Matt, if you'll excuse me, this points to a flaw in Metafilter: our excessive generosity with anonymity and multiple personalities. Members should all identify themselves. If they wanted to remain anonymous, for some reason, they should be made to use "anonymous" as their signature, so that we all knew how to take a comment or post.
As it is, abuses like these will just proliferate, which is unfair to those who stand up to be counted but, even worse, goes against the spirit of honesty and responsibility which makes MeFi such a refreshing forum.
No one should have to do this kind of detective work. The solution is requiring members to provide minimum identification, including any relevant professional bias they may have.
For normal, honest members it's very spooky to find out that opinions we read in good faith have some hidden interest behind them. It's just not fair.
If Jason Kottke, when he posts or comments, doesn't hide behind an inscrutable username, why should others?
We all deserve to know who we're arguing with. This is not censorship. Any opinions can be expressed but, to be properly understood, we need to know where they're coming from, so we can evaluate it from the relevant perspective.
This is very important, specially now. Abusing Metafilter's generosity is despicable.

posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:17 AM on October 1, 2001


Just a thought, there are three authors on dotcomscoop according to their left sidebar. All of the links you are talking about, Matt, are to articles written by the same person. Robert Loch. Mr. Loch's address is at yahoo.co.uk, even though the rest of the site seems to be NY-based. I aint no Hercule Poirot, but i'd hazard a guess that Mssr. Loch is your man.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:47 AM on October 1, 2001


Miguel, no offense, but why should abuses like this sudden start proliferating? Metafilter has been around for quite a bit longer than your posts here and hasn't be overwhelmed by anonymous posters.

posted by andrew cooke at 3:16 AM on October 1, 2001


Move in, boys. Frenchy, you cover the alley. And watch your back. He's an Internet marketing consultant.
posted by pracowity at 3:20 AM on October 1, 2001


Is this the same Robert Loch ?
posted by lucien at 3:22 AM on October 1, 2001


Metafilter has been around for quite a bit longer than your posts here and hasn't be overwhelmed by anonymous posters
(andrew cooke)

A good point, eternal even: if something works, don't try to fix it. I agree. But not much!

Don't you prefer upfront posters who start by stating who they are? I do.

I mean The Economist is still anonymous but at least the editor knows who the journalists are.




posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:52 AM on October 1, 2001


It definately interesting stuff.

From Mr Loch's weblog. Call me a fuddy-duddy but...do I have to spell it out?

posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:59 AM on October 1, 2001


My guess is that when/if they notice the discussion going on here, and realize how hard it is to pull anything over our eyes, they will quietly dissapear.
Or "they" may just continue posting as before, if they don't care...
I really hope hincandenza is right.
posted by nprigoda at 7:27 AM on October 1, 2001


why should abuses like this sudden start proliferating?

Because they tend to do so when a site gets publicity. All the people with agendas to push suddenly drop by when alerted by a mainstream media outlet that there is an audience waiting to be exploited. As long as MetaFilter remains mainly word-of-mouth, it draws mainly people who are interested in participating in the site for what it is. When it receives mass media exposure, it begins to draw people who are interested in using it as an outlet for their various agendas.
posted by kindall at 7:57 AM on October 1, 2001


Don't you prefer upfront posters who start by stating who they are? I do.

Many of our users are are privy to sensitive information because of their work. They share this information with us, and wouldn't do so if they couldn't remain semi-anonymous.

Also -- some people are uncomforable with having a very public presence on the web. A prospective employer could look up "John Smith" in Google and find all of his MeFi threads, disagree with John's views, and choose not to hire him.
posted by jennak at 7:59 AM on October 1, 2001


jennak

That shouldn't really be an issue. All you have to do is go make up a email address at yahoo. Personally I can't fathom any site letting people have as much of a voice on as they do here, without some sort of validation.
posted by jbelshaw at 8:04 AM on October 1, 2001


Good detective work, Eyeballkid. Color me impressed.
posted by waxpancake at 8:07 AM on October 1, 2001


Oi Mr. Holmes, what are you doing banning me. Atom is a prat, even he will admit that, but I'm great.

I'm not Robert Loch.
posted by Wet Friday at 8:17 AM on October 1, 2001


Of course not. You're just a person who is so determined to post links to his work that you are trolling this site and creating new accounts after you are banned.
posted by rcade at 8:45 AM on October 1, 2001


rcade, I've posted here for 6 months and posted one link to that site. I changed my name because of the PC brigade were getting on my tits and I wanted a new start. The post in question has 40+ comments; I think that validates my decision to post it.
posted by Wet Friday at 8:49 AM on October 1, 2001


Maybe you wouldn't need to create new accounts if you showed some respect for the place. Slamming people because they stepped outside the lines of the discussion you wanted to have doesn't say a lot for your knowledge of how things work here.
posted by rcade at 8:56 AM on October 1, 2001


WHAT. Where is the evidence that I slammed anyone? I have serious respect for this place, and my posts and comments have generally been well received. On the contrary I changed my name because everything I posted was grammar and spell checked by 'english teacher trolls,' which is F'ing boring. Please, if a decent poster feels that it is necessary to change his name because people are checking everything that he writes for little errors, then there is something wrong.

Now, I've been banned for posting a thread that has lead to loads of interesting debate. WTF.
posted by Wet Friday at 9:11 AM on October 1, 2001


The post in question has 40+ comments; I think that validates my decision to post it.

Stepping aside from if it's a good link or not this is emphatically not a good reason to post a link. As Matt has recently noted this is supposed to be a colaborative weblog, not a discussion board. It's the quality of the link, not the quality of debate that is supposed to be highest.

Now, in many ways this isn't so. I certainly enjoy lots of the cut and thrust around here and value it at least as much as the links. But our great leaderā„¢ decrees that it should not be so. I think we should try and respect his wishes.
posted by nedrichards at 9:26 AM on October 1, 2001


I'm now getting trolled by 'thewittyname.' How sad is that. I have not ever posted a inflammatory remark. I'm anonymous am I, is that your problem? Well you sad troll, here's my e-mail address, please write:

jamespalexander@hotmail.com, do you want my home address and phone number before you deem it ok for me to post?
posted by Wet Friday at 9:35 AM on October 1, 2001


'most people haven't seen it before, there is something interesting about the content on the page, and it might warrant discussion from others.'

Those are the guidelines that I read, nedrichards. The post meets 2 of those requirements definitely and the 3rd (interesting about the content on the page) in my view. Obviously the 3rd is always going to be a matter of opinion.


posted by Wet Friday at 9:44 AM on October 1, 2001


Have I missed something here? Is Wet Friday the same as Wet Wednesday? Have either of those posted links to their own sites?

This seems to be descending into name calling without any facts.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:54 AM on October 1, 2001


If only Matt would pass on that IP address, my router deny list would get one line longer...
posted by delfuego at 9:59 AM on October 1, 2001


Is Wet Friday the same as Wet Wednesday?

Does look that way.

I'm not convinced that the best links do always generate the most commentary. For example people who troll often receive a lot of responses to their posts, not because they are intelligent, interesting, or in any way worthy, but because they are frequently controversial.
posted by lucien at 10:10 AM on October 1, 2001


Andrew: Wet Friday and Wet Wednesday are the same person. He created a new account after Wet Wednesday was banned from the site today, and Wet Wednesday itself was a new account he created to distance himself from his last one (or to escape the abuse of aggressive grammarians).
posted by rcade at 10:18 AM on October 1, 2001


Wet [Day of the week]:
I have not ever posted a inflammatory remark.

No, that is exactly what you did here, and I called you on it. I don't care that you post anonymously. So do I. I don't care that you post front page links to places the MeFi police deem "unacceptable." I've had my share. I don't care that you spell incorrectly/differently. I hate spelling.

The point is that I "trolled" you for a different reason: you made an inflammatory post. Not all football (soccer) fans are stupid/bigoted/violent/etc... although that is exactly what you implied.

(I know that I might seem very hypocritical in light of my response, but after re-reading this thread, I think my post is a pretty accurate rendition of the facts.)
posted by thewittyname at 10:43 AM on October 1, 2001


Oh, I see you were refering to that comment. Sorry. I'll respond there then.
posted by Wet Friday at 10:49 AM on October 1, 2001


That shouldn't really be an issue. All you have to do is go make up a email address at yahoo.

Obviously, I think email should be required to gain access to MeFi, but users should be able to opt-out of it appearing in their user profile. (I think this is the current policy.)

I understood Miguel to be advocating for more identification, such as real names & non-web-based email addys. (....our excessive generosity with anonymity and multiple personalities. Members should all identify themselves...including any relevant professional bias).

People will fake personas regardless, and most users would prefer to use "identies" rather than reveal names & places of work (for job security).
posted by jennak at 10:57 AM on October 1, 2001


So wet whatever, what's your connection to Atom Heart Mother?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:59 AM on October 1, 2001


So mathowie whatever, does my connection with people have to be disclosed. Judge me on what I've post, ban me based on what I post.
posted by Wet Friday at 11:04 AM on October 1, 2001


Ok, I'll judge you based on what you post. You've posted from the same IP as someone else numerous times, both pointing to dotcomscoop. My orignial point is that you seem to be the same person masquerading as two people, in an attempt to draw free traffic to your own or friend's site, without being detected.

If you're posting as two different people, you're lying, and you're abusing the site for your personal reasons. I've seen nothing to prove you're not the same two people, and if this continues, I'll have to start banning all your IPs to keep you from abusing the site I've created here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:21 AM on October 1, 2001


I've posted one link to dotcomscoop. I know FA about that site, I'm not interested in it, it has no relevance to my job/life. I read one article that was forwarded to me, that is off the sites ususal topic and posted it because I thought that it might be worth discussing. OTHERS APPEAR TO AGREE! I repeat, I have never abused this site, I respect it greatly and find these accusations offensive.

Posting from the same IP address: how does that confuse anyone. Atom could be my friend, workmate, girlfriend, boyfriend, mother, brother, sister, aunt, etc etc. I am not sure what right you have to ask, and I am not his/her keeper.

With all due respect, I feel that I am being unfairly victimised.
posted by Wet Friday at 11:37 AM on October 1, 2001


So mathowie whatever, does my connection with people have to be disclosed. Judge me on what I've post, ban me based on what I post.

Matt,

this is obviously someone who revels in being banned. He's a glutton for punishment ,as any other sort of attention is denied him. But we can deal with him, as a person. But the dotcomscoop connection is something else and shouldn't be allowed. Although even that is debatable - have you glanced at it? I peeked and came running back, ashamed and homesick.

I do think the solution to most problems is identification and disclosure. Jennak's objections are real - but look at how honest and upfront she was about it - and they could be dealt with easily with a pseudonym. Pseudonyms would simply mean "Sorry but this is not my real name because otherwise I couldn't possibly feel free to post and comment".

But people who lie and assume false identities, who use Mefi to promote their own sites... We know, deep in our hearts, no matter how liberal we may be, how wrong, unfair and downright malicious that is.

The problem are masochists who actually crave the self-policing...

I always remember my Irish grandmother's solution to every single physical or psychological affliction:"Ignore it and it'll go away".

It's difficult, sure, but it can be done. And has been done.
/Sorry for not doing it right now)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:52 AM on October 1, 2001


With all due respect, I feel that I am being unfairly victimised.

I saw something funky going on, and you're one of the users involved. How is that unfair? Yes, you've posted one link to that site, but I've also deleted another one, one that I'm pretty sure you posted, which Atom posted soon after. That's another big reason why I think you're in cahoots with one another.

And as for the same IP, it seems beyond two people sharing a single computer. It's two users having the same IP, posting minutes after each other, on numerous occasions, each time with a new set of IPs. That's very suspect, is it not?

I'm not asking for detailed proof of every person you've ever known, I'd just like to hear an explanation of some sort besides "I am not sure what right you have to ask." When someone dodges a question repeatedly like that, they're hiding something. When they're hiding something, it's usually for a good reason. What are you not telling me?

Finally, if you feel you're being unfairly victimized, why not email me to ask what is going on before creating a new profile for yourself? Why are you going clear around the barrier I set up? If you're going to continue to dodge questions and circumvent anything I put in front of you, I'm not going to lighten up anytime soon.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:52 AM on October 1, 2001


it is in wet's favor, that he/she has chosen to engage in this dialogue and defend self appropriately, rather than create a new, less traceable member ID and continue to pursue objectionable posting habits.

And if anonymity is, as people agree, a user's right, wet shouldn't have to identify any relationship with AHM here.

However, mathowie has a legitimate question as to who's using his site. Wet, just my $0.02, you should email matt outside of this forum and let him know what's up. This is his site, and right now he feels like it's being used inappropriately, and with some justification, even if it turns out to be partially happenstance.
posted by mattpfeff at 11:56 AM on October 1, 2001


rcade: aggressive grammarians
<davidfosterwallacejoke>Not the Militant Grammarians of Massachusetts? </davidfosterwallacejoke>

wet dayoftheweekofyourchoice: yep. fair enough. It's ok as per guidelines. personally i would question it's value - particularly since a certain someone reckons we have too many links around here. I know it's stopped me posting links. But you are perfectly ok in posting it. Just wanted to put over my POV on MeFi's existence.
posted by nedrichards at 11:56 AM on October 1, 2001


mathowie, you brought this into metatalk, I created a new profile so that I could answer you. I've told you that myself and Atom are not the same person, I have told you that I am not Robert Loch, and I have told you that I do not troll. If my word is not good enough, ask me to leave now, and I will. It is that simple.

Migel, if you can hear me from on top of that unusually high horse, I am not promoting any site.

Will I have to reveal my past identity to prove to you all that I'm a long-term, decent poster. That would be ironic after feeling forced to change my ID in the first place because of the general harrassment of those so up their own arses that they think that they have a right to lecture all. Is metafilter now a fascist state? I don't think so, but increasingly people are attempting to enforce their apparent superiority on this place, which I think is a shame. I'm glad that I'm not amongst them.


posted by Wet Friday at 12:20 PM on October 1, 2001


Will I have to reveal my past identity to prove to you all that I'm a long-term, decent poster

IMHO, yes.

Wet Friday: honestly and man-to-man, I'm off my high horse, so get of yours. This would be the best way of proving us wrong and making us read you without suspicion or malice.

Just do it. What do you have to hide? Or to lose? How do we know who we're talking about? Or to?


posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:42 PM on October 1, 2001


Many of our users are are privy to sensitive information because of their work. They share this information with us, and wouldn't do so if they couldn't remain semi-anonymous.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm having trouble thinking of any instance where MeFi has been provided with proprietary information from underground informants.

People will fake personas regardless, and most users would prefer to use "identies" rather than reveal names & places of work (for job security).

Now this I can agree with, simply wanting to protect your identity so that Human Resources Nazis don't come after you at some point. But I don't agree that it's enough of a reason to allow for total anonymity. I don't care if people want to use pseudonyms while posting in public, but they ought to be required to provide some level of identification to Matt himself. It's the only way to protect MeFi from out-and-out abuse from 100% anonymous people who will simply come back in an hour under a different name if you ban them now. At the very least, Matt ought to be given a real, non-web email address, or even a phone number.

Will I have to reveal my past identity to prove to you all that I'm a long-term, decent poster.

Yes, because we don't believe you.

That would be ironic after feeling forced to change my ID in the first place because of the general harrassment of those so up their own arses that they think that they have a right to lecture all.

We don't believe this either. If you were being harassed earlier, why didn't you alert Matt at the time? He would have taken action to stop it.

Is metafilter now a fascist state?

Metafilter has ALWAYS been a fascist state. It is Matt's site. What Matt says goes. If you don't like it, write some code and start your own discussion site. You'll be free to set that one up as a "democracy," if you so desire.
posted by aaron at 2:11 PM on October 1, 2001



Why couldn't it be AHM who is pushing an agenda and W[MTWTFSS] who is simply a friend or workmate who gets the occasional email from a friend and posts it here? If I were W[\dow] I'd be pretty annoyed by the general agressiveness around here too.

posted by andrew cooke at 2:14 PM on October 1, 2001


PS There can't be many regular posters who stopped posting just when Wet Wednesday signed up.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:21 PM on October 1, 2001


Metafilter has ALWAYS been a fascist state. It is Matt's site.

That's completely untrue. Matt gives tons of leeway and the police here are usually regulars who are known to overstep common decency when it suits them. Changing one's name to get away from the 'usual suspects' sounds on par to me. Fortunately, there are usually more positive policing than negative policing.

As far as the WW and AHM's IP are concerned has NAT been ruled out yet? I'm see a lot of pressumed guilty here and I certainly don't like it.

Lastly, why isn't this done over email, Matt? The stirred up crowd only adds noise to whatever signal you may hope to get out of this.
posted by skallas at 2:38 PM on October 1, 2001


I wonder whether this guy can shed any light on the controversy.
posted by sudama at 3:12 PM on October 1, 2001


Skallas, I raised the NAT issue way up above as a possibility- however, Matt clarified that it's not just that they're from the same IP, it's that the IP keeps changing over time, and they keep posting from the same IP as it changes- that suggests less a business NAT than a home user getting a new lease periodically. WW/F has claimed he may or may not know AHM, but that he isn't AHM- but the IP thing suggests they live together if they aren't the same person. And WW/F isn't taking it to email for some inexplicable odd reason- is he under the mistaken impression he can somehow "win" this disagreement and get the last word in?

Nedrichards: Not the Militant Grammarians of Massachusetts?
Yep... gotta love the DFW ref... :)
posted by hincandenza at 3:48 PM on October 1, 2001



I can't see what Matt's seeing of course, but it seems to me that Wet has acquitted himself fairly well here. I'm not sure what crimes he's committed.
posted by rodii at 3:55 PM on October 1, 2001


If "definately" is OK ("You got a problem with that?") because that's the way you pronounce "definitely," can I call you Whet Wenzdaie? Or would you set up yet another account for yourself in that name?
posted by raysmj at 3:57 PM on October 1, 2001


My home network gets a different IP every time it reconnects, and if my wife and I liked to read MeFi together (as do several couples I know) it would look like that. What exactly is being claimed here, anyway?
posted by rodii at 3:59 PM on October 1, 2001


but they ought to be required to provide some level of identification to Matt himself.

Yeah, I interated the fact that name and emails (and/or other necessary info) should be provided to Matt, though not necessarily in the public profile.
posted by jennak at 4:00 PM on October 1, 2001


And WW/F isn't taking it to email for some inexplicable odd reason- is he under the mistaken impression he can somehow "win" this disagreement and get the last word in?

WW didn't start this thread, Matt did. I don't see why WW shouldn't defend himself in public. I'd be highly-defensive if an administrator of a site decided to publically accuse me instead asking me outright. I'd rather not fight a mob, just the person who has a problem with me.

I think the proper thing to do was to keep this in email to avoid something that's starting to look like an embarassing witch hunt.
posted by skallas at 4:16 PM on October 1, 2001


I'm pretty sure Wet Weekday is Dan Quayle. aaron is, of course, Britt Hume's daughter. Stavros is an ex-patriot/pirate. Pracowity collects exotic teas. Den Beste is Hawking's transhuman database. And holgate is one of the minor gods.

Hope this helps.

BTW, I have a complete list, cross-referenced and indexed - lemme know if there is any official interest.
posted by Opus Dark at 4:54 PM on October 1, 2001


O.D., would that make you the Bard?
posted by mattpfeff at 5:57 PM on October 1, 2001


Thanks to those that wrote words of support.

mathowie I understand what you were saying, I'm just not a troll. Anyone with AOL on there computer will have multiple IP listings.

Everyone else, you are right to try to protect this place, and I'm sorry if I was overly aggressive in my defense.
posted by Wet Friday at 6:57 PM on October 1, 2001


Lastly, why isn't this done over email, Matt? The stirred up crowd only adds noise to whatever signal you may hope to get out of this.

This has been going on in email, but Wet (dow) has yet to respond to a single one. Here's what I did: I locked out both accounts, and sent emails to the ones listed on each account telling them to look at this thread and then email me their response. I put it here publicly in case someone else could dig the archives and see if the posting was more obvious than the problems I saw.

AHM emailed me a few times, and in the course of several back and forths I never got any good evidence or explanation to prove they weren't a single person. AHM stated basically that they were pointing to dotcomscoop a bit too much and they trolled on the site and would stop.

A home NAT could be responsible, but neither person has mentioned that. I'm not asking for their life history or ten pieces of picture ID scanned in, I just want to hear something like "we live in the same place and use the same computer." I don't know who they are, I don't care, and that's not what I'm looking for here. It seems on paper that this was the work of a single person, and if not, there must be some simple explanation, and I haven't heard one yet.

mathowie I understand what you were saying, I'm just not a troll. Anyone with AOL on there computer will have multiple IP listings.

So you're saying when both acconts were posting within minutes of each other, you both just happened to dial in and grab the same IPs in a giant bank of modems down at AOL's headquarters? That all my suspicions are dumb luck? That you both also happened to point to dotcomscoop a few times?

If this is just one giant amazing coincidence, let me know. And I should restate, this is not, and never has been about "trolling" by anyone involved. My initial feeling was two personas here were a single person, and that they were sending posts to their own site, purposely to score some free traffic.

Nothing here is about trolling, I just don't want to see the site and service abused for someone's personal gain.

I'm still waiting for a completely anonymous (I don't know who you really are and I don't want to know), detailed explanation of what the hell is going on. Is that too much to ask?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:05 PM on October 1, 2001


oh, and it's perfectly fine to tell me over email Wet (dow). I'll just post a "all clear" message here when I've gotten the story privately.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:17 PM on October 1, 2001


Changing one's name to get away from the 'usual suspects' sounds on par to me.

I'm not sure what you're basing this on, skallas. I can't recall any instance where a user was so shamed by us MFers that he left his original ID behind and entered the witless protection program.

WetWeekday could have nipped all of this in the bud with a simple explanation of why two users are sharing his IP address to promote a specific writer at DotComScoop who is rarely mentioned anywhere else on the planet, according to Google.

I know that's a lot to ask of him, but us fascists are a demanding bunch.
posted by rcade at 7:22 PM on October 1, 2001


Aaron:Metafilter has ALWAYS been a fascist state. It is Matt's site.

Skallas:That's completely untrue.

It's more of a benevolent dictatorship. It's never been a democracy. Nor could it. Nor should it. (In my most humble opinion, of course.)

Matt gives tons of leeway and the police here are usually regulars who are known to overstep common decency when it suits them.

Says you. Others might say they have been extremely patient as the community has devolved over the last year. That horse, however, is pretty much dead.

Changing one's name to get away from the 'usual suspects' sounds on par to me.

Sounds kinda wussy to me. I hope it's not "on par". Imagine: what if there are really only a couple of dozen MeFi members in total, each holding dozens of accounts.
posted by jpoulos at 8:47 PM on October 1, 2001


rcade you are asking me a question that is not mine to answer. I posted a link to a story that I found interesting, why ATM posted is his/her business. I repeat, judge me on my posts.

Obviously if the IP address is the same then we were using the same computer at the same time. Is that so odd? Am I the only person here that shares a computer occasionally, or 'plays' on a computer at the same time as someone else?

I don't get what more you want me to say. Would it help is I said something like, 'Atom and I live on the same corridor at university, and he is a peasant that doesn't have his own computer, so he uses mine.' or ' Atom is a fit bird and if she want to use my computer who am I to stop her.'

Nothing sinister was going on. From what I can gather Atom has given you an answer in private, and said sorry. If you are not satisfied then deal with him. That is nothing to do with me. I can not believe the amount of time that has been wasted on this. Next time I'll just change my name, or put my hands up to any accusation. someone openly defending themselves is obviously not appreciated.

And for those wondering why I don't answer every part of this interrogation, it is because like millions of others, I have an issue with privacy. I've answered pretty comprehensively, I've spent valuable time putting forward my objections and have offered to leave if asked.

The last thing I want to do is cause shit here. It is 5.30am , so good night and I hope this is the end. hang me or pardon me.
posted by Wet Friday at 9:36 PM on October 1, 2001


Sounds kinda wussy to me. I hope it's not "on par".

Yeah, on second thought I overestimed that, but its not unheard of. There are a lot fewer think-skinned netizens than you might expect after being surrounded by some decent people like here or some usenet groups.

That horse, however, is pretty much dead.

It certainly is.
posted by skallas at 9:47 PM on October 1, 2001


This is all about me isn't it!?!
posted by thirteen at 9:48 PM on October 1, 2001


Wet Friday, I don't understand why you think this is a privacy invasion, put simply, it's exactly what rcade said above.

"WetWeekday could have nipped all of this in the bud with a simple explanation of why two users are sharing his IP address to promote a specific writer at DotComScoop who is rarely mentioned anywhere else on the planet, according to Google."

I'm not asking for you to publish your home phone number or give me your full name, and I don't know who either persona involved is, so it doesn't matter if you said "we're flatmates" or "we're husband and wife" or "he/she uses my computer once in a while." Where's the privacy invasion there? All I want to know is whether or not these two usernames were abusing the site to promote some obscure site. Why is giving an explanation such a tremendous deal? This isn't a privacy invasion or a troll-hunt. I'm just looking for answers. I'd appreciate it if you'd stop derailing every line of questioning with claims of trolling or privacy issues.

I hope you can see where I'm coming from, I hate it when people create false identities just so they can get some traffic to their site.

Mickey Suttle did this. Twice. Actually, three times. He recently signed up under another new name, just to post to his starwars site.

My intuition says AHM and WW are the same person, doing this to get traffic to dotcomscoop. I can't remember the last time my intuition mislead me. If it's true, I don't want stuff like this to continue, that's all. If it's false, I'm deeply sorry for insinuating any wrongdoing.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:55 PM on October 1, 2001


ah shit, you just got kayceed.
posted by raaka at 12:19 AM on October 2, 2001


matt: follow your instincts.
posted by rebeccablood at 12:29 AM on October 2, 2001


Friday, I am not sure what right you have to ask, and I am not his/her keeper.

Matt's right to ask is based on the fact that he owns this system. Our use of it is a privilege, not a right. He has the right to ban anyone he wants, any time he wants, for any reason he wants. He doesn't owe us any explanations at all -- but because he's a nice guy, he doesn't use that power indicriminately. He can ask you anything he wants.

You don't have to answer, but if you don't provide an answer he considers acceptable, he has the right to ban you and to block your IP range. And this has been done in past. Your claims that "It could be anyone; you have no proof" don't wash. This isn't a court of law, and you don't have any rights here at all, nor do any of us except Matt.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 4:48 AM on October 2, 2001


I mean The Economist is still anonymous but at least the editor knows who the journalists are.

FWIW, The Economist isn't "anonymous" so much as it is "written from one voice." The attitude is that The Economist has an opinion and its writers and editors all work toward expressing that opinion as one. Bylines would cloud this voice, so there are none.

The Economist's editorial staff appears frequently on television interviews and on Economist TV. But the staff works toward writing in a set style and perspective, not unlike AP stringers who all report unbiased news (ostensibly) from the same angle.
posted by werty at 7:12 AM on October 2, 2001


Not that anyone asked, of course, but I thought we could use a change of pace in this thread.
posted by werty at 7:19 AM on October 2, 2001


Thanks, werty. I couldn't live without The Economist but you're quite right. Although their journalists and contributors are wide-ranging, it's true that, stylistically and politically, they edit out much of the variety.
But it's still a great magazine and, when you read it for a few years, you start spotting all these quirky opinions sneeking into the editorials and the news items - some very off base - which make up for any excessive uniformity.
Your "(ostensibly")says it all. Fan too, huh?
(Talk about tangents... The Economist could use a few too. They do succumb once a year(their double Christmas issue is always surprising and meaty)but they should do it more.
As if...|

posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:07 PM on October 2, 2001


I'll have to get myself a better lawyer. One that can argue my case more effectively. From my point of view, I posted a link that got 80+ responses and then got tarred because Atom had been pratting around posting a link to his friends work.

If I am allowed to stay, I will prove under my new name that I am loyal supporter of this place, if not, it will be to my detriment. No one should be at conflict with matt, his achievement in setting up this place and keeping the standard so high is remarkable. I salute him.
posted by Wet Friday at 12:12 PM on October 2, 2001


WetWeekday, I am far from being on the MeFi scooby squad or cop patrol. Matt has asked multiple times for an explanation of some pretty shady behaviour in his sandbox, which it seems you are unwilling to provide.

Crying 'but it was a good thread' isn't answering the question posed. Being as evasive and hostile as you were wasn't helping either.



posted by tj at 1:06 PM on October 2, 2001


I was brought up to believe that there is a certain integrity in living your personal life according to the principles you advocate in public. So I find it surprising that Metafilter, which is, for the net, a liberal, democratic and tolerant place, has this darker, more private Metatalk where people gleefully pronounce a dictatorship, fawn to a demigod, and cultivate a petty, guilty until proven innocent, lynch-mob mentality.

Yes, it's mathowie's site, but that doesn't mean that we need an avenging chorus of pontificating, pompous, agressive asses baying for blood. Given that one person wields all power, wouldn't it be more becoming for the rest of you to urge restraint, to question the process, to support the underdog?

Almost every time I read Metatalk, I become depressed. Thank god for the rabble on Metafilter that makes it worthwhile.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:29 PM on October 2, 2001


Jeez. Melodramatic much?
posted by Kafkaesque at 2:55 PM on October 2, 2001


Just a comment on IP addresses:
If I post from my office you'll see the address of our proxy server / firewall.

With over 20,000 users of our intranet about 2,000 with internet access we all appear to have the same IP address.

I don't know if any of our intranet users are MeFi users as our intranet covers around a thousand miles (or more.) I'll look at logs tomorrow and see if others visit here.

posted by DBAPaul at 2:56 PM on October 2, 2001


christ andrew, before you paint the little hitler mustace on my face in photoshop, relax and look at the facts here:

- I notice potential abuse of the site (potential!)
- I post it here to get other opinions, as well as the persons involved
- I get no straight answer

wouldn't it be more becoming for the rest of you to urge restraint, to question the process, to support the underdog?

That's why I posted it here, to see if there was some other explanation. I was hoping people would take "their" side, and take me to task for accusing anyone.

People may sound bloodthirsty here, but I think it has everything to do with WetDay's responses. Not a single simple, straightforward explanation has been put forth. That equals guilt in a lot of people's minds. I'm still waiting for a full answer myself.

People like you andrew, who like MetaFilter, may be interested in knowing about abuses going on with the site, and that's why it was posted here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:06 PM on October 2, 2001


Given that one person wields all power, wouldn't it be more becoming for the rest of you to urge restraint, to question the process, to support the underdog?

If someone invites you to a party and has trouble with a guest, do you automatically side against your host "to support the underdog"?

If the answer is yes, do you get invited to many parties?
posted by rcade at 6:45 PM on October 2, 2001


rcade, you just made me spit my Snappleā„¢ out of my nose. Thanks.
posted by delfuego at 7:33 PM on October 2, 2001


Hmm. Let me break this down for a second: the main problem as it stands now is that WetGuy won't reveal what his relationship is to AHM?

It could be something very personal, embarassing, odd, that he doesn't want to reveal to anyone. Like that AHM is his deformed child who was never allowed out of the house and is unbeknownst to authorities. Or that AHM is his boyfriend, and no one including his parents knows they live together.

Chances are, it's none of those things. Most likely they are the same person. In that case, all Wet had to do is email Matt and apologize, and we all know that Matt would likely forgive him and allow him to keep using the site. So why hasn't he done that?
posted by chaz at 7:39 PM on October 2, 2001


I don't think that I've been evasive, well not overly. If I was the same person I would have either gone quitely, or more likely owned up. The point is that I'm not. AHM explain things to matt via e-mail, apparently, and I chose to defend myself here. I repeat, I have to my mind done nothing wrong. I've also apologised for being arsey.

AHM is a friend and a work mate, it is not a massive secret. I just did not see why I should have to announce that.

For the record, he has explained and apologised but his account has not been reactivated. Not that he is complaining. He didn't even post on that thread in question.
posted by Wet Friday at 7:54 PM on October 2, 2001


before you paint the little hitler mustace on my face in photoshop

I thought PrivateParts already did that, Meta-Censor Adolph!

(I'm with ya, Matt.)
posted by rodii at 8:29 PM on October 2, 2001


i cant picture matt in jackboots:)
posted by newnameintown at 9:49 PM on October 2, 2001


actually posting from a friends abode could be a problem.(logout and all) once, maybe....doppleganger i says.
posted by newnameintown at 9:52 PM on October 2, 2001


"Given that one person wields all power," You see mr cooke, your statement asserts that matt does have "the power" and what ever fashion his actions(hence public and private behavior as evidence of human conduct) take, are construed as, well, an action of power. Matts real power is on what he doesnt do. In 7th grade drama, ya had yer stage crew, light crew and actors. All can be interchanged except one(well two if you count the director) and that is lights. We used to call our chap "Light God". He who watches and makes the light move. Hence respect. (even though matt is a liberal, frisco geek with to much resume and probably a FOREIGN AUTO..:)
posted by newnameintown at 10:04 PM on October 2, 2001



Matt, you should know better than to give me ideas.
posted by jjg at 10:25 PM on October 2, 2001


"I find it surprising that Metafilter, which is, for the net, a liberal, democratic and tolerant place, has this darker, more private Metatalk where people gleefully pronounce a dictatorship, fawn to a demigod, and cultivate a petty, guilty until proven innocent, lynch-mob mentality."

I think the bold text above should be MetaTalk's new slogan. I mean, that's what we're all here for, right?

But seriously, I think someone should take a "Time Out" in the corner and cool off before he can come back and play with the rest of the kids.
posted by Hackworth at 10:46 PM on October 2, 2001


just a data point: robert loch (the writer in question) is a member of the media-squatter's list (as am I and a number of others at metafilter.) does that add anything to the equation?
posted by rebeccablood at 9:12 AM on October 3, 2001


What's a media-squatter?
posted by Su at 9:20 AM on October 3, 2001




Rebecca: it might. Robert joined the Media-Squat mailing list on Oct. 3 and immediately posted a link to a DotComScoop article. Sound familiar?
posted by rcade at 11:07 AM on October 3, 2001


Jesus fucking christ.

http://www.metafilter.com/user.mefi/12383

A new user, posts two comments, both with links to dotcomscoop, and they're from an AOL IP address, as all of Wet Weekday and Atom Heart Mother's posts have been.

I'm beginning to think whoever runs Dotcomscoop is Sybil, what with all their personalities.

One more fucking post to dotcomscoop, and URLs pointing to dotcomscoop will not be allowed in any new threads or comments. You got that fuckheads?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:20 AM on October 3, 2001


I'm pissed off because this little slice of heaven away from USENET is becoming USENET. In between thoughtful posts are promotional messages pointing to a site.

repeat with me everyone: THIS IS NOT USENET

I won't tolerate this shit.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:27 AM on October 3, 2001


Hi Guys,

I was just pointed in this direction. mathowie, sorry about this stuff, it was not organised. I do posted links myself to articles, but generally only under my name as with my post to media-squatters. Those links above may be my fault however as I pointed out to some people that fuckedcompany was being credited here for our story.

If you wish to discuss anything, please feel free to e-mail me.
cheers
Robert


posted by RobertLoch at 11:41 AM on October 3, 2001


I just noticed that too, and was on my way here to point it out. As time goes on the benefit of the doubt for WetWhatever is waning. Everything points to you being right in your inferences about the situation, Matt

What really bothers me is that there are people out there who are so cold, so used to and focused on lying through their teeth, that they are actually ABLE to follow through so intensely with a cherade like this.
posted by tomorama at 11:43 AM on October 3, 2001


go matt go.
posted by judith at 11:43 AM on October 3, 2001


From putting 2 and 2 together from the dates and coincidences that network together all the posts to mefi, the new user accounts, the timing of everything, the publishings to dotcomscoop and posts the media-squatters' list, I might be ready to classify this as nothing more than dishonest business practices, an intense geurilla advertising campaign if you will. The owner of dotcomscoop even posted to his message board that he operates the site as his full time job and gets all his income from it.

Article goes on dotcomscoop. Semi-anonymous users join up at other high traffic media hubs and post links to said article. Lather, rinse, repeat.

If anyone could offer one though, I'm sure I, as well as everyone else would be open to a clean-cut, honest aliby, sans bullet-dodging. If there is one.
posted by tomorama at 12:07 PM on October 3, 2001


If my assumptions are true, then it's logical that the person(s) would be vigorously defending their innocence here, as well as anyplace else.

The person(s) wouldn't be fighting for their precious mefi accounts. They'd be attempting to maintain the integrity of their dotcom front in order to hold onto visitors while conducting their spam campaign in the background.
posted by tomorama at 12:10 PM on October 3, 2001


Can you say becoming ubiquitous?
posted by eyeballkid at 1:35 PM on October 3, 2001


I'm with tomorama. I was pointing out a coincidence earlier when I brought up Robert Loch and if you scan down this thread, it's coincidence after conincidence. They just seem to add up. That dotscoopcom, or whatever, article concerning the RIAA revolves around what was said to be a widely circulated email. Loch has taken this oppurtunity to claim the story as belonging to his website (another plug--"I pointed out to some people that fuckedcompany was being credited here for our story." Really? That's slightly self-indicting.) The story appeared on fuckedcompany, CNet and ZDNet, all of which I assume have more inside media contacts than Loch and Co.

That remark is also a sway from the original point of this thread, which is that self promoting links to his site had been posted previously to the RIAA vs. Napster Clones thread having appeared here.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:04 PM on October 3, 2001


And that's an even hundred!

For the first time since the 1932 test match against Australia, Wet Day of the Week and Robert Loch have batted for a century!

*calls for tea interval*
posted by Kafkaesque at 2:18 PM on October 3, 2001


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